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Jun 1, 2023
National Deaf Life Museum
Exhibit A: Jerry Lee’s involvement with Bassett Furniture
March 9, 1988
WHEREAS: Because former president Jerry Lee announced last August that he was resigning to go to work for Bassett Furniture, owned by Jane Bassett Spilman, Chair of Gallaudet’s Board of Trustees, the body charged with protecting the interests of the University, this faculty can only infer that Ms. Spilman lured Dr. Lee away, offering him a job with her before he announced his resignation here, a clear conflict of interest on her part;
AND WHEREAS: Because Dr. Lee left Gallaudet only four months after announcing his intention to resign, not allowing time for proper transition from his administration to the next, this faculty can only infer that Ms. Spilman, Dr. Lee’s immediate superior both before and after his move, encouraged this desertion, again a clear conflict of interest on her part;
AND WHEREAS: Ms. Spilman is quoted in the New York Times of Tuesday, March 8, 1988, as having said, “Deaf people are not ready to function in a hearing world” * a statement which is in direct conflict with the following statement on page 2 of the University Undergraduate Catalog: Since Gallaudet College was founded, its goal has been to educate men and women to become productive and concerned citizens of our nation and the world”;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT: the Collegiate Faculty of Gallaudet University, meeting in special session on Wednesday, 9 March 1988, calls for the immediate resignation of Ms. Spilman from the Board of Trustees, and, if she declines to do so, for the Board of Trustees to remove her from her position as a member.
* Although Ms. Spilman has denied this astounding statement, there are witnesses who heard her say it on television.
Below are links to the text of a wide variety of documents related to the 1988 DPN protest. Although they have been re-typed for this website, we have retained the look, wording and spelling of the originals. Student Body Government Letter to Faculty
Resource Type: History
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
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